Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A case of " Bad Karma" for the Lobsters in Gloucester, MA

Looks like a case of "Bad Karma" for the lobsters on the North Shore of Massachusetts.

First they were rescued from becoming somebody's supper by local Buddists who sought to give the lobsters a chance at freedom....(see " The rest of the story" after this first part)

Buddhists liberate lobsters, rerouting from boiling pot to sea
By Lauren Keiper - Boston Globe

Thu Aug 4, 2011

GLOUCESTER, Mass (Reuters) - Instead of plunging headfirst to their death in a pot of boiling water, 534 live lobsters escaped the dinner plate and belly flopped to freedom into the dark waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

A group of Tibetan Buddhists flanked the sides of a whale-watching boat at dusk on Wednesday, sprayed the lobsters with blessed water, clipped the bands binding their dangerous claws and gently released them one by one into the deep water below.

The 30 Buddhists of all ages trekked to the North Shore beach community known for its massive lobster hauls to purchase 600 pounds of lobster from a seafood wholesaler and save the critters from imminent death.

The lobster liberation was scheduled specifically for August 3, which is Wheel Turning Day on this year's Tibetan lunar calendar, the anniversary of the first sermon Buddha taught. On this holiday, the merit for positive actions is multiplied many times.

"Even if they get captured again, they've had a longer life," said Wendy Cook, a yoga instructor and former director at the Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies in Medford, Massachusetts, a town just north of Boston.

If not for the liberation, "you know they are going to be shipped to restaurants and headed to the boiling pot," she said.
Buddhists from the Kurukulla Center typically liberate masses of the expensive seafood a couple times each year.

Cook led a ceremony ahead of the liberation that included prayers, mantras and walking the 13 boxes of lobsters in circles around a display of blessed objects. These important steps develop a karmic connection for the animals' future lifetimes and help ease future suffering, she said.

Among those setting the lobsters free was Vikrant Bhasin, a chef from Cambridge, Massachusetts who called the life-giving experience "beautiful."

THEN, our friends the lobsters find out they were destined to be dinner afterall....

Released lobsters retaken, group says
Caught at site of Buddhist ritual
By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / August 9, 2011

Talk about bad karma.

On Thursday, a group of Buddhists traveled to Gloucester and purchased 534 lobsters, about 600 pounds worth, from a wholesaler and dumped them back into the sea in a prayer ceremony in which the crustaceans’ bands were cut and blessed water was sprayed on them.

Freedom. But it may have been short-lived.

Yesterday, lobstermen from the fishing vessel Degelyse said they had traveled to the site of the ceremony, laid their traps, and hauled up exactly 534 lobsters, according to a local blog, Goodmorninggloucester.org.

And then they brought their haul right back to market.

“It’s really not meant as a slight toward Buddhism at all,’’ said Joe Ciaramitaro, who runs the blog that broke the story and co-owns Captain Joe and Sons Dock, where the boat and several others offload their catch. He also runs Captain Joe and Sons Wholesale Lobster Co. in Gloucester. “We’re just having fun.’’

The Reuters news agency reported on the Buddhists’ release of the lobsters, which featured a group of 30 who boarded a whale-watching ship and conducted their ceremony.

The actions included prayers, mantras, and walking boxes of lobsters in a circle around blessed objects, which is designed to “develop a karmic connection for the animals’ future lifetimes.’’

“Even if they get captured again, they’ve had a longer life,’’ Wendy Cook, who helped lead the ceremony, told Reuters.

Cook did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.

In a video on Ciaramitaro’s blog, the lobstermen joke that the Buddhists are welcome to re-purchase the lobsters and release them again.

The captain of the Degelyse could not be reached for comment.

Ciaramitaro did not know how the crew ascertained the location of the Buddhist drop zone, but he admitted that the whole episode may have been a joke designed to break up the long days and hard work of fishing the Atlantic.

“The job is so tough, lobstering and being down the dock at 5 a.m. seven days a week, and it’s a lot of monotonous physical labor,’’ he said.

“Anything to break up the day and have some fun is what we’re all about. We’re not trying to antagonize them or anything like that.’’

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